A good friend of mine made the transition from computer science to physics, and he leverages his programming background to do some pretty amazing things. Some of the tools he uses are freely available, so I was able to check them out with out too much hassle. I don't understand any of the physics behind the experiments he does, but the software is pretty cool.
He uses a tool called Geant4 to simulate what happens when particles pass through matter, and another tool called ROOT to analyze the data.
The coolest part of all is that the experiments are Monte Carlo simulations for the Large Hadron Collider under construction at CERN(European Organization for Nuclear Research) near Geneva, Switzerland. When it starts running in 6 months, it will become the world's largest and highest-energy particle accelerator.
A little research reveals an event-driven SOA connection with CERN - This architecture is used for to track the status of 30,000 data points coming from 100 different local systems in the particle accelerators and publish them to an enterprise service bus. This lets technicians react instantly to events that need their attention.